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The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century: Its Progress and Expansion at Home and Abroad, Comprising a Description and History of the British Colonies and Dependencies.
Volume II, Chapter X (pp 333-334.)
By Edgar Sanderson
Blackie & Son, Limited. 1897.


All mysteries of crime, not only for the reign, but for the century, seem almost trivial compared with the "Whitechapel murders", the East-end atrocities, of the years betwen 1887 and 1891. During that period, at intervals of time varying in length from a few weeks to some months, and from months to nearly two years, at least nine murders were committed, all, with one exception, in the open air, at various points in or close to the densely-populated district called Whitechapel, in East London. From the peculiar mode of slaughter adopted by the assassin it may be safely averred that at least eight of these crimes were the work of the same hand. The victims were, in all cases, women of the same fallen and unhappy class. They were in all cases slain by the severance of the throat. Their bodies were in all cases mutilated in the same region, with the same indescribable ferocity, by the use of a blade with the keenest edge. No one who did not, like the present writer, inspect the scene of at least some of these fearful tragedies, can appreciate the daring, the swiftness, suddenness, and skill needed for successful action and escape. In the darker recesses of public thoroughfares under regular patrol of the night-police; in back-yards of lodging-houses teeming with persons whom a single scream would have aroused; without a cry from the slain; without a sight of the slayer ever obtained, without a sound of his steps as he went to or quited his loathsome work, the deadly steel wrought deed after deed of the most savage cruelty. The slashing of the victims' flesh caused the vulgar to dub this miscreant "Jack the Ripper". Not the faintest clue was ever obtained. Like a fiend he came and like a fiend he vanished, laughing man to scorn in the loneliness of some secure retreat, or exulting, in the depths of his wicked heart, over his utter defeat of all the resources of our boasted civilization for the detection of crime.